Eric and I are without child, no small feat when you examine the fertile surroundings in the state that is Indiana. In fact, I have strong evidence to prove that much of the recent baby boom can be traced to a particular water fountain at my workplace.
However, these last few months have given us a glimpse as to what parenthood will be like. If you recall, a feline entered our lives last September. In many ways, she has acted in the stead of a child. I will now lay out how she has tried to show us a glimmer of what will be in store for us when she is usurped by a (hopefully) less hairy version.
Sleep deprivation. Before Augustine arrived, I slept through the night. If you recall, I've had some difficulty with waking up due to her antics when she wants me to tend to her wants. Furthermore, when I turn over at night, I'm conscious enough to know where our cat is so I don't smother her. However, this is not always fool-proof, for if she is trying to look out our window, I can't sense her and I'm liable to kick her off. She's learned it can be in her best interests to also adjust her position when I stir.
Cutting the cord. I have friends discussing when they finally moved their child to the nursery and out of the master bedroom and the great difficulty they had in doing so. While it was hard to set limits, I have learned it is worth kicking her out of our room so that I can sleep soundly.
Connecting with others in the same stage of life. We find ourselves conversing about cat issues with fellow owners:
- How did you train your cat to stay off the Christmas tree?
- What do you think about declawing?
- Does yours interact well with other cats?
- Do you use wet or dry food?
- Does your cat's breath have the smell of festering meat?
- What did you do to toilet-train?
Separation anxiety. When she went to the vet to be spayed and remain overnight, we were anxious at home. "I wonder how she's doing. She's probably so scared and nervous, and we're not around! It seemed like a nice clinic, right? How did the veterinarian appear to you? You're picking her up when they open tomorrow, right? Call me and tell me how she is, okay?"
Tendency to worry. Soon after her surgery, we called an emergency vet to discuss our fears when we saw some fresh bleeding. In the standard response, they said this can be normal and that we should monitor the situation and if it got worse, bring her in.
Tending to their bodily discharges. Let's ignore the obvious litterbox reference. We've also experienced what it is like to be guardian to a carsick feline. She became sick no fewer than two times during our Christmas travels. And for no apparent reason this afternoon, she was sick on a discarded scrap of carpet in our utility room.
Knowing what's in their best interests. She whines when we don't let her have her way (i.e., let her outside beyond our screened-in porch to chase the birds and get herself stuck in a tree when she attempts to befriend Samson the Squirrel). And yet, we know the power of the automobile and the canines next door, so we remain firm.
Common complaints. She sleeps too much. She spends too much time working on her appearance. She trails her toys around the house. She's distant much of the time. She's not willing to tell us what's bothering her and we're left to figure out that she's upset because she has yet again tossed her small stuffed mouse into the coat closet or into the toes of our shoes.